Comedian Matt Rife Opens Netflix Special With Domestic Violence Joke, Sparking Controversy

The comedian told Variety that he believes his special, Natural Selection, is "way more for guys."

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Netflix viewers aren’t happy with Matt Rife’s new special, Natural Selection.

The 28-year-old comedian recently landed his first special for a mainstream platform. The stand-up begins with a domestic violence joke.

Rife sets the scene at a restaurant in Baltimore, which he characterizes as “ratchet”—and he reveals that the hostess has a black eye. Rife’s friend then wonders aloud why she was not moved to the kitchen away from customers. "Yeah,"Rife tells his friend, "but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye."

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The special was filmed at Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall, which has a capacity of 3,000 people. When the audience laughs, Rife says he’s “just testing the waters, seeing if y’all are gonna be fun or not … I figure if we start the show with domestic violence, the rest of the show should be smooth sailing.”

In an interview with Variety from last week, Rife expounded on who his fan base is, sharing that while it was initially women due to his TikTok virality, it’s now a “50/50” split. He says that’s evidenced at his shows, which are replete with couples and groups of men.

“And that’s one thing that I wanted to tackle in this special was showing people that despite what you think about me online, I don’t pander my career to women. I would argue this special is way more for guys,” he told Variety.

“I wanted to make this special for everybody. I pride myself on making my comedy for everybody. It’s not for a specific demographic. I think if people would just give it the chance without going into it and being like, ‘Oh, only girls like him,’ or ‘People only like his face.’ If you give it an opportunity, I think you’d like it.”

Netflix viewers weren’t pleased with Rife’s quips about such a serious topic. Check out some responses below.

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